A walk around Mayfair
Rubbing shoulders with the toffs
(Photos/words © urban75, 3rd February, 2007)
An amble through one of the most expensive areas of London.
The Burlington Arcade
Constructed in 1819, "for the sale of jewellery and fancy articles of fashionable demand, for the gratification of the public," the upmarket Burlington Arcade runs from Piccadilly through to Burlington Gardens.
The arcade originally housed seventy-two small two storey shops, although this now stands at around forty after some units were combined.
The arcade is monitored by Burlington Arcade Beadles, who strut about in traditional 19th century-style uniforms incorporating top hats and tailcoats.
Bizarrely, whistling and singing are both banned from the arcade and you can expect to be asked to leave if you break forth into song.
The ban stems from the 1800s, when both activities were employed by pimps to distract the Beadles and alert the prostitutes working the arcade.
The ban also extended to the opening of umbrellas and the riding of bicycles.
The arcade is dominated by posh shops selling clothes, shows and expensive antique jewellery - something that hasn't escaped the attention of thieves over the years.
In 1964, a Jaguar Mark X sports car hurtled down the arcade, disgorging six masked men who smashed the windows of the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Association shop and got away with jewellery valued at £35,000. They still remain at large.
The Royal Arcade
A short walk from the Burlington Arcade is the smaller Royal Arcade, on Old Bond Street.
A dazzling display of silverware on display in the Royal Arcade.
Shoppers, Royal Arcade.
On Bond Street you can see this curious bronze statue by Lawrence Holofcener showing Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 'conversation' on a park bench.
Bond Street gets its name from Sir Thomas Bond, who headed up a team of developers in 1683 to transform the area.
Bentley car, Saville Row.
H Huntsman & Sons on 11 Savile Row. Established in 1849, H Huntsman is a Royal Warrant-totin' top tailor on London's famous tailoring street.
Corner of Saville Row and Vigo Street.
Welsh and Jeffries tailors, 20, Saville Row.
Air Street, between Piccadilly and Regent Street.
The New Piccadilly Cafe on Denman Street, near Piccadilly.
The old cobbled approach to the disused Kingsway Tram underpass, near Holborn.
The impressive Edwardian Renaissance Chancery Court Hotel on High Holborn.
Cranes and new buildings, Chancery Lane.
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